Monday, 15 October 2018

Holiday Workshops in Tactics, Combinations & Attack

I am now back from an unexpected visit to Dubai and from there on to Batumi and after recovering from 48 hours of travel, am fully recovered and teaching again.

My weekend classes are broken down now to three levels i.e. Enjoy Chess 0-1400, Young Talents 1400-1800 and Future Stars 1800-2200 but not many of my students are serious tournament players although a few will be going to the Penang Open from 3-10 December to get much needed experience.

So I decided the most useful thing I could do to help them would be put together a rather comprehensive program of lessons on tactics, combinations and attack, and the best time is at the very start of the school holidays.

I think that this course I have put together will also be useful to all players and especially those rated around 1400-1800 strength even if their actual FIDE ratings might be lower and so decided to open it up to everyone and if interested as in my post on the Institute for Chess Excellence FaceBook page, do call (or WhatsApp) me as soon as possible because places will be limited.

Mukhriez Shah Mahmood Shah (Malaysia) vs Joseph Mwale (Malawai)
Round 11, Batumi Olympiad

Participants might be interested at some of what is will be taught and as a sweetener, here we have a position where in the Batumi Olympiad, young Mukhriez Shah was up against an experienced opponent rated 200+ points more in last round match that Malaysian needed to win against an even lower ranked Malawi.

Here Muhriez showed his lack of experience by playing 27 Rec3 when the simple 27 b3 would have kept the position equal.  

In response his opponent could not control himself and played 27... b5 when in fact 27... Rf1+ was better and after 28 Kd2 , perhaps c5 would have kept a small advantage and all the chances.

Mukhriez now played 28 Ra7! If instead 28 Bf5?, of course 28...Rxf5 and then 29... b5 wins. Yet after his opponent replied 28...b5, it was Black who had the attack!

The game continued 29 Rb3 Rf1 30 Kd2 Rf2 31 Ke1 Rf4 32 Bf5 Ke7 33 Rxb7

Here White seems to be getting some counterplay but with his next move Black is able to activate his remaining piece and begin an attack on the king.

33...Nf3+ 34 Kd1 Rxh3. The threat is 35... Rh1, winning.

Now R3xb4 would have kept things safe but Mukhriez blundered with the seemingly natural looking 36 Re3+ and after 36...Kf6, was lost. Again lack of experience and playing by intuition and not with concrete analysis.

In a very difficult, perhaps lost position, Mukhriez tried 37 c3 but then followed 37... Rh1 38 Kc2 Rh2 39 Kc1? Of course 39 Kd1 Ne5 40 Rxb4 would have kept the game going longer.

Now his opponent played Ne5 and 40 Re1 was forced to in order to defend against the back rank mate.

Simplification into a won endgame then followed beginning with Rxf5 41 gxf5 Nd3 42 Kd1 and now instead of rushing to capture the Rook, 42... Nxb2 to pick up a pawn and bring the b pawn into the attack.

Then followed 41 Kc1 Nd3 42 Kd1

But now, instead of 43... Nxd1, 43... bxc3 with the threat of 44... Rd2 mate! It's all tactics! Now 44 Re2 is forced and the pawn queens! 

The finish was 44... Rxe2 45 Kxe2 c2 46 Rxc7 c1=Q 47 Rxc1 Nxc1 with a last move 48 Ke3 thrown in from inertia before resigning. 0-1.

Luckily the Malaysian team pulled through with a narrow 2.5-1.5 win to achieve a 50 percent overall score with 5 wins, 1 draw and 5 losses and in doing so turned what was going to be a total disaster into something of a save in Batumi.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Malaysia, Round by Round in Batumi

Malaysia is ranked 83rd in the World, and was seeded 107th at the Batumi Olympiad.

We finished 93rd (tied 82nd-101st with a group of 20 teams on 11 points, a 50 percent score).

R1: Loss: 0.5-3.5 vs Belarus, Europe/Ex-Soviet

R2: Draw: 2:2 vs Afghanistan, Asia/Middle East

R3: Win: 3-1 vs Kuwait, Asia/Middle East

R4: Loss: 1-3 vs Madagascar, Africa

R5: Win: 4-0 vs Saudi Arabia, Asia/Middle East

R6: Loss: 1-3 vs Mongolia, Asia

R7: Win: 3.5-0.5 vs Libya, Africa/Middle East

R8: Win: 3.5-0.5 vs Botswana. Africa

R9:  Loss: 1-3 vs Canada, Americas

R10: Loss: 0-4 vs Belgium. Europe

R11: Win: 3-1 vs Malawi, Africa

4th ASEAN Chess Championships (Open//Women) 2018


1. Organization

Organized by the Myanmar Chess Federation under the auspices of the ASEAN Chess Confederation.

2. Eligibility

Only players from the ASEAN member Federations can participate.

ASEAN Open Champion will be awarded a 9-game GM norm, in case of tie, up to first three will be given IM Title; similarly, 9-game WGM norm and WIM titles for women will be awarded.

3. Schedule

Subject to the number of players, the system shall be between 9 rounds Swiss / Round-robin.

20th December: Arrival

  Technical Meeting at 20:00 hr.

21st December: Opening Ceremony - 09:00 hr.

  Round 1 - 10:00 hr.     

22nd December: Round 2 - 09:00 hr.; Round 3 - 16.00 hr.

24th December: Round 5 - 09:00 hr.; Round 6 - 16.00 hr.

25th December: Free Day

26th December: Round 7 - 14:00 hr.

27th December: Round 8 - 14:00 hr.

28th December: Round 9 - 09:00 hr.

                          Closing Ceremony - 16:00 hr.

29th December: Departure

4. Time Control and Format

Swiss System. FIDE-rated and FIDE-titled. Rate of play: 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, all without time increment. Zero Start shall apply. 

5. Prize  

Trophies will be awarded to the Winners, 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up. There’ll be no prize money.  

6. Entry Fees

6.1. Registration must be made by National Chess Federations for the registering player.

6.2. Entry Fee for Open Championship (FIDE Rating above 2300)

GMs with FIDE Rating above 2500: Free (but a deposit of US$100 is required)

2401 to 2500 - US$150; 2301 to 2400 - US$200

Note: Each Federation may nominate one player below FIDE Rating 2300 for the Open Championship and it should not be lower than 2200. In case of odd number, the host country has the right to add another player.

6.3. Entry fee for Women’s Championship (FIDE Rating 2100 and above)

FIDE Rating above 2300: Free (but a deposit of US$100 is required)

2201 to 2300 - US$80; 2101 to 2200 - US$120.

After 7th December 2018, a late surcharge of US$50 will be imposed.

7. Accommodation:

7.1. For Open and Women, the organizer will provide twin-share room with 3 meals for 1 player (Open) and 1 player (Women) from CACDEC countries.

7.2. The players from the other countries shall have to pay for the rooms of their choice. 

Room rates (3 meals included)                       Single              Double/Twin

                                                                        US$ 90            US$ 60

8. Playing Venue: 

Oattara Thiri Hotel, Naypyitaw, Myanmar.

9. Entry Fees and accommodation are payable upon arrival.





Family Name:                                            First Name: 

Federation:                                             Gender: M / F (circle one)

Age:                                                         Date of Birth (DD/MM/YYYY):                                 

FIDE ID:                                              Rating:                                     Title:

Room Type: (Single / Double) 

Sharing with:

Email Address:

Office Telephone:

Mobile Telephone:                              

Arrival Date:                      Time:             Airline:                 Flight No.:             From:                                        

Departure Date:                 Time:              Airline:                Flight No.:               To:


Endorsement of Federation: (Name of Responding Official, signature)

Please return this entry form by email to:        

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

With Four Rounds To Go...


With four rounds to go, Malaysia is in a large group of teams on 7 points and tied 79th to 104th.

Our actual current ranking of 86th outperforms our seeding of 107th with the team playing to their "real" ratings against opponents between 2100-2200, a level of competition we are used to.

The luck of the draw gives us Botswana next, a team seeded 116th which is even lower than we are.


The Malaysian women came to the Olympiad ranked 68th and on 9 points, are now in a group 24th to 43rd.

Li Ting on top board and Nithya on last board are outperforming their ratings while the rest are playing to their normal level.

We play 76th ranked Tajikistan and with a win can break into the top group for the next round.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Top Malaysians - FIDE Rating List October 2018

Once again we have the monthly ranking of our players according to FIDE (World Chess Federation) and it is particularly relevant given it is coming out during the World Chess Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

Why? Well, because its as indicative as it can be of the current level of the teams we have sent to participate in this global event that takes place every two years. 

Starting with the men, we can see that two are in the top ten, one is in the top twenty (or top fifteen if you prefer to measure like that), another is just outside the top twenty, and one who is not shown because he is not 2000+ is ranked 90th.


With the women is much easier to understand, all five are in the top ten including the first, second and third ranked.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Malaysians at the World Junior Chess Championships 2018

The World Junior Chess Championship is the real benchmark of talent with many winners graduating to the senior title and many more joining the ranks of the chess elite.

Malaysia has not usually sent our young talent to this event, preferring instead the World Youth Championships which is a much weaker tournament as it is an age-group event with a wide variety and range of participants, meaning as in the Olympiad, there is a group fighting for medals, another group behind but with the chance to make an upset or two and with a bit of luck getting onto the top twenty or thirty, then another group really in the middle, and so on.

Some of our best and most ambitious have however stepped up to the challenge and to these ranks we add FM and NM Wong Yinn Loong, already a national senior champion last year, the mainstay of the Malaysian team to the World U-16 Olympiad, but whose play this year has seen a dip primarily because he is now very more focused on the SPM exams (so why is he even playing one might ask?).

In a super strong field, Yinn Loong has acquitted himself well, performing at over 2300 level and getting 37 rating points on his way to a 50 percent score.

We rarely have our girls play in the World Juniors but this is Rosamund's second time around and as much as she has improved in the last year, she fell short when it mattered over the World Chess Olympiad selection that basically bastardised the National Championships and a lot perhaps had to do with coming off her A-Levels.

Ros cannot be thrilled with her result but she did play to approximately her rating but the many blunders through simple tactical and calculation oversights and poor technique should be of concern if she wants to make real progress in chess. 

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Asian Teams Going to the Batumi Olympiad

Malaysia is ranked 81 on the FIDE Rating List but our team going to Batumi is seeded 108 and so it is a team 27 places below that of a representative side.

With our women it looks more normal as they are ranked 59 in the FIDE Rating List and our team to Batumi is seeded 68 which is just 9 places below.

Friday, 31 August 2018

ChessBase Product List

Name RM Price
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Mega Database 2018 380
Mega Database 2018 upgrade (valid 2017 serial key required) 130
ChessBase 14 + Mega Database 2018 Combo 535
ChessBase Account Premium (1 year) 95
Fritz 16 215
Fritz Powerbook 2018 215
Daniel King: Starting chess 75
Komodo 12 230
Houdini 6 Pro 230
Opening Encyclopaedia 2018 230
Opening Encyclopaedia upgrade from 2017 to 2018 (valid 2017 serial key required) 115
ChessBase Tutorials: Starting Chess 75
Power Play by Daniel King
Power Play 1 - Mating Patterns 75
Power Play 2 - Attacking the king 75
Power Play 3 - Pawn storm 75
Power Play 4 - Start Right 75
Power Play 5 - Pawns 75
Power Play 6 - Pawns 75
Power Play 7 - Improve your pieces 75
Power Play 8 - Knights and Bishops 75
Power Play 9 - major pieces vs. minor pieces 75
Power Play 10 - Calculation 75
Power Play 11 - Defence 75
Power Play 12 - The Hedgehog 75
Power Play 13 - The squeeze 75
Power Play 14 - Test Your Tactics 75
Power Play 15 - Practical Pawn Endgames 75
Power Play 16 - Test Your Rook Endgames 75
Power Play 17 - Attack with 1.e4 75
Power Play 18: The Sicilian Najdorf - a repertoire for Black 75
Power Play 19: Attack with 1.e4 - Part 2 75
Power Play 20: Test Your Attacking Chess 75
Power Play 21: A repertoire for black against the Anti-Sicilians 75
Powerplay 22: A Repertoire for Black with the French Defence 75
Power Play 23: A Repertoire for black with the Queen's Gambit Declined 75
Power Play 24: A repertoire for black against the Catalan 75
Power Play Vol.23 and 24 135
Powerplay 25: Queen pawn repertoire against Offbeat lines 75
Power Play Strategy package - 6 DVDs by Daniel King 380
Power Play Attack package - 6 DVDs by Daniel King 380
Powerplay 26: Checkmate Challenge – essential knowledge 75
Power Play 1-26 Combo Offer 1525
Chess Endames by Karsten Mueller
Chess Endgames 1 - Basic knowledge for beginners 75
Chess Endgames 2 - Rook Endgames 75
Chess Endgames 3 - major piece endgames 75
Chess Endgames 4 - Strategical Endgames 75
Chess Endgames 5 - Endgame Principles Activity & Initiative 75
Chess Endgames 6 - Endgame Principles Domination & Prophylaxis 75
Chess Endgames 7 - Endgame Principles Weaknesses & Fortresses 75
Chess Endgames 8 - Practical Rook Endgames 75
Chess Endgames 9 - Rook and Minor Piece 75
Chess Endgames 10 - Rook and two minor pieces 75
Chess Endgames 11 - Rook against Bishop 75
Chess Endgames 12 - Rook vs Knight 75
Chess Endgames 13 - Double rook endings 75
Chess Endgames 14 - The golden guidelines of endgame play 75
Chess Endgames 1 to 14750
Master Class
Master Class Vol.01: Bobby Fischer 75
Master Class Vol.02: Mikhail Tal 75
Master Class Vol.03: Alexander Alekhine 75
Master Class Vol.04: Jose Raul Capablanca 75
Master Class Vol.05: Emanuel Lasker 75
Master Class Vol.06: Anatoly Karpov 75
Master Class Vol.07: Garry Kasparov 75
Master Class Vol.08: Magnus Carlsen 75
Master Class Vol.09: Paul Morphy 75
Master Class Vol.10: Mikhail Botvinnik 75
Master Class Vol.1-10 Combo 650